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Census Records in the Virtual Treasury of Ireland / 9 a.m.
Presenter: Dr Brian Gurrin
The Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland was launched in June 2022, on the centenary of the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts in 1922. The Virtual Treasury brings together tens of thousands of copy records and transcripts to replace, as far as possible, the vast collection destroyed in that opening engagement of the Irish Civil War a century ago. Funded by the Department of Culture as part of the Decade of Centenaries, this is a free, public online resource that will continue to grow. With millions of words of searchable text, it is an exciting new resource available to anyone interested in Irish history.
In his talk Dr Brian Gurrin will begin by telling the story of the lost Public Record Office and explaining how the team of historians, archivists and computer scientists collaborated to virtually recreate many of its missing collections. He will then talk about the census resources available in the Virtual Treasury.
Dr Brian Gurrin is the census specialist on the Beyond 2022 project. Brian is primarily interested in researching Ireland’s demographic history before the Great Famine, and is particularly focused on researching religious demography between the 17th and 19th centuries. He has researched the 1766 Religious Census of Ireland for many years and authored, with professors Kerby Miller and Liam Kennedy, The Irish Religious Censuses of the 1760s, published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission in 2022. Brian was responsible for one of three Gold Seams (components) during the Beyond 2022 project – The 1766 Religious Census Gold Seam. His most satisfying work during the project involved the reconstruction of the entire hierarchy of census returns from the 1766 census.
Lust, Lucre and Lybell: An 18th Century Soap Opera / 10 a.m. EST
Presenter: Dianne Brydon
Adultery, divorce, yelling and cursing in the street, challenges over inheritance. In plotlines that could be taken from the modern series Dallas, this 18th century soap opera features the Guild family of Tranent, Scotland. For over a decade, between 1788 and 1798, Tranent citizens not only witnessed the family drama, they at times actively participated and told their story for the record. Dianne Brydon will recount the saga, gleaned by interweaving details from church, estate, property and court records.
Dianne Brydon has been researching her Guild family story for five years, whenever she can get to Scotland, where she has sneezed through many dusty bundles of legal documents to piece together their colourful story.
With her father, in 2017 Dianne published their family history The Stalwart Brydons: From Scotland to Galt to Portage La Prairie. She has written two articles for BIFHSGO’s Anglo-Celtic Roots, most recently “Who’s Crazy? The Tale of Mary Brydon and Mental Health in 19th Century Ontario,” which also won honourable mention in BIFHSGO’s 25th Anniversary writing competition. Her talk “A Genteel Woman in Need: The Story of Maud Lampman, the First Woman Appointed to Work on Parliament Hill” won the Best BIFHSGO Talk by a Member award in 2020. She is currently BIFHSGO’s President and previously served as Program Director from 2019 to 2021.